Pennsylvania to issue new mercury limits

Feb 22, 2006

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reportedly plans to order a substantial cut in toxic mercury emissions from coal-burning plants.

The new regulation would make Pennsylvania the fifth state -- and one the first major coal-producing states -- to order mercury emissions reductions stricter than those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday.

The Pennsylvania plan would require coal-fired plants to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent within four years and 90 percent by 2015. The U.S. EPA wants a 70 percent cap on emissions by 2018, although full compliance is not expected until years later, the newspaper said.

"The federal rule is woefully inadequate in protecting public health," DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty told the Inquirer.

Pennsylvania's 36 coal-fired power plants produce most of the state's 5.7 tons of mercury emitted each year, placing the state second, behind Texas, in the amount of mercury emissions.

Mercury occurs naturally in coal and is released into the atmosphere when the coal is burned. As the mercury particles fall into water, they are converted into a more toxic form and then enter the food chain through freshwater fish.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: NASA's Orion spacecraft back in Florida after test flight

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Giant new plant shows coal power isn't going away

Mar 07, 2012

The Prairie State power plant, set amid farm fields and woods in southwestern Illinois, will start producing power soon, beginning a life of burning local coal that's expected to last until at least the 2040s.

Recommended for you

Kepler proves it can still find planets

4 hours ago

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.